This bright, cheerful toddler’s dress by Kirsty Hartley, from her book Wild Things To Make (£25, www.orionbooks.co.uk) is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. The appliqué is simple and bold, with a lovely tactile quality. Made here in soft cotton corduroy, it would also look fantastic in denim, a summery floral fabric or a geometric print.
- Dress fabric
- Yellow or orange fabric
- Contrast fabrics, plain or patterned
- Iron-on double-sided adhesive webbing
- Buttons, 2.5cm, two
- Sewing thread
- Tailor’s chalk
- Six months to five years old
- Seam allowances are 1cm unless otherwise specified.
sew a child’s pinafore dress
Calculating Fabric Lengths
6 months-3 years: Width 1.10m dress - 1m, Width 1.50m dress - 1m
3-5 years: Width 1.10m dress - 1.2m, Width 1.50m dress - 1.2m
Average Measurements By Age*
6-18 mths: Height to 80cm, Chest to 50cm, Waist to 46cm
18 mths-3 yrs: Height to 98cm, Chest to 54cm, Waist to 50cm
3–5 years: Height to 110cm, Chest to 58cm, Waist to 54cm
5–7 years: Height to 122cm, Chest to 63cm, Waist to 58cm
*If the child you are creating the garment for is smaller or larger than average, adjust to fit.
1 Choose the best size for your child, using the guide. Download the A-line dress pattern and save it to your computer, then open it as a PDF file. Select Print, choosing ‘Actual Size’ and ‘Poster’ so that your computer naturally tiles the image for you and prints in scale. Following the lines for the correct size, cut out a front piece with the neck sitting lower, and another for the back. Press the dress fabric and lay flat, ensuring the centre front and centre back are parallel to the selvedge.
2 Mark around the pattern pieces, adding 1cm all around for seam allowances, and 2cm at the hem. Cut a front and back facing to the line marked on the pattern by drawing a straight line across the body patterns as marked.
3 Iron adhesive web onto the wrong side of contrast fabric for the flower centre, stem and leaves. On the reverse paper side of the web-backed fabric, draw around the templates and cut out.
4 For the petals, choose bright contrasting colours. Bond adhesive web to the wrong side of a scrap of contrast fabric. Using the template, cut out the petals. Mark the flower position on the dress front, and arrange the petals in position around it.
5 Remove the paper backing from the petals. Place in position, adhesive side down and press with an iron. Stitch around the edges of the petals, using matching or contrasting thread. Repeat for the flower centre, stem and leaves, sewing a line through the centre of each leaf.
6 Pin the dress front to the back, right sides together, at one side seam. Stitch and overlock the seam, then press open. Open out the dress and lay it flat, right side up. Pin the facing front to the back, right sides together, at the same side seam as for the dress. Stitch the seam, overlock and press open. Finish the lower edge either by turning it under twice by 5mm and stitching, or by overlocking.
7 Place the facing on the dress, right sides together, and pin around the neck and armholes and across the shoulders. Sew 5mm from the edge. Snip into the curved seam allowances and across the corners, taking care not to cut through the stitching itself. Pin the front to the back of the dress and facing at the remaining side, and sew in one continuous seam. Overlock and press.
8 Turn the dress through, rolling the fabric gently in places to shape the curved edges. Press, then topstitch 5mm from the edge around the armholes and neckline. Hem the dress by turning under the bottom edge twice by 1cm, then stitching. Mark the position of the buttonholes on the back and stitch. Sew the buttons in position on the front.